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News Currents Sr.

News Currents Sr. is a current events program designed specifically for use as a group activity in a residential setting. It provides you with a stimulating and interactive approach for presenting current events each week.

Story Text | Artists Kevin Beasly and Robert Lugo among
winners of 2023 Heinz Awards
Artists Kevin Beasly and Robert Lugo among
winners of 2023 Heinz Awards
The Heinz Awards are a major prize.
[1] This is a Heinz Award medal. The Heinz Awards are an annual ceremony where artists and activists are celebrated for their efforts to make the world a better place.

[2] Over the years, the Heinz Awards have honored many exceptional people. This is Paul Farmer. A 2003 Heinz Award laureate, Farmer co-founded the charity Partners in Health and dedicated his life to giving medical care to the world’s poorest people. Have you ever heard of Farmer? Where? Other previous winners
include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and educator Salman Khan.

[3] Six people were honored with Heinz Awards this year, and two of them were artists. One of these artists was Roberto Lugo, who you see here. From this picture, what kind of art would you guess he’s best known for? (Pottery.) The other is named Kevin Beasley. Both of these artists incorporate social justice messages in their work, and both deal with the history of race and class divisions in the United States.

[4] The other winners included this woman, Leah Penniman. Penniman is a food security activist who founded a farm in New York state. This farm, Soul Fire Farm, provides low-cost fresh produce to its community and hosts training programs that teach people how to farm their own food. Do you see why these people were given Heinz Awards?

Roberto Lugo and Kevin Beasley are famous American artists.

[5] Roberto Lugo is an artist who lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While he is perhaps best known for his ceramics, Lugo’s art blends many different mediums—including hip-hop and spoken word poetry—to create something completely new. Does this sound interesting?

[6] Here you can see one of Lugo’s works. Who can read the words on this bowl? What message do you think this work is trying to convey? Lugo’s art often deals with social themes, and his unique and thought-provoking art has been celebrated by critics and audiences.

[7] Kevin Beasley is the other artist to win a Heinz Award this year. Beasley often makes “found object” art. What is “found object” art? (Art made out of items found on the street instead of more common artistic materials, like paint or marble.) Here, you can see “found object” art in a museum. What objects do you see in this work?

[8] Beasley once made a work about this machine here. This is a cotton gin. During the time of American slavery, enslaved people were often forced to work the cotton gin. It is often seen as a symbol of slavery in America. Beasley created an installation, or a three-dimensional artwork that takes up a full room, about the cotton gin. This work used sound, touch, and other interactive elements to make visitors think about slavery in a new way. Are artworks like this one important? Why or why not?

[9] Lugo and Beasley have both been featured at major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum, which you see here. They are two of the most respected and intriguing artists working in America today, and the Heinz Award is just another honor for them both. Do you think art has the power to make a difference in the world? Explain.
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